Exploring the Enchanting Upper Mustang: A Complete Guide to Entry Points and Permits
If you're looking for a unique trekking experience, Upper Mustang in Nepal is an ideal destination that offers a blend of adventure, history, and culture. Located in the remote regions of the Himalayas, the region offers a picturesque landscape with towering mountains, arid desert-like terrain, and a distinct Tibetan-influenced culture. However, before embarking on your Upper Mustang trek, it's essential to know the entry points and permits required for your journey.
Entry Points to Upper Mustang Trek
Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna and Himalayan ranges, and serves as the starting point for most trekkers. From Pokhara, you can reach Jomsom by flight, bus, or jeep. However, the most popular way is to take a flight to Jomsom. Jomsom is the main gateway to Upper Mustang, and from here, you can travel by foot or jeep to explore the region.
Driving to Upper Mustang is also an option, and the route takes you first to Jomsom and then to Upper Mustang. If you're looking for a more convenient and faster mode of travel, you can charter a helicopter from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Jomsom, and Lo Manthang.
Permits for Upper Mustang Trek
To explore the region, you need two permits, a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and an Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) permit. The RAP is issued by the immigration office and the ACAP permit by the Tourism Board Office. The RAP costs USD 500 per person for ten days with an additional USD 50 per day. On the other hand, the ACAP permit costs around USD 30. You don't need the Trekkers' Information Management Systems (TIMS) Card required for other treks in Nepal, as the RAP serves as a substitute.
To apply for the permits, there should be a minimum of two people undertaking the Upper Mustang trek, and they must go with a trekking company registered in Nepal. Your passport must be valid for at least six months, and you need to provide an original passport and current Visa for permit application. For the ACAP permit, two passport photos and a passport are required.
Why is a Restricted Area Permit Required for Upper Mustang?
There are several reasons why the region requires a Restricted Area Permit. Upper Mustang shares an open border with Tibet, and due to border security concerns, the area is restricted. Moreover, the region is rich in natural beauty and culture, and the authorities want to protect it from outside pressure. The permit helps to control the number of visitors, ensuring quality tourism in the region.
In conclusion, Upper Mustang is a fascinating region that offers an unparalleled trekking experience. However, before starting your journey, make sure you have the necessary permits and understand the entry points to explore the region fully. With proper planning and guidance from a registered trekking company, you're sure to have a memorable experience in Upper Mustang.